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By Andrea Drever

Content and Editorial Director

If you book a non-refundable flight, and decide to cancel within 24-hours, can you get your money back? Yes, in most cases. The Department of Transportation has a rule that all airlines flying in the U.S., even international carriers, must issue a full refund if the reservation is canceled within a one-day window. The regulation is especially useful for fliers who want to pounce on a flight deal or want an extra day to firm up their plans.

But there are exceptions to the rule to keep in mind:

  • The rule does not apply flights that do not originate in or are not flying to the U.S. (for example, London to Athens).
  • The refund policy only applies to bookings made seven days or more before departure. 
  • Airlines have the choice to either allow customers to hold their fare without payment for 24 hours or issue a refund if the reservation is canceled within 24 hours of purchase. They do not have to do both. So if you already held your fare for one day without payment, and then you decide to purchase that ticket, you won’t be eligible for a refund should you decide to cancel. You’ve basically already used your 24 hours up while you had the ticket on hold.
  • The rule only applies to fares purchased directly from an airline. So if you’re buying through an online travel agency, like Orbitz or Expedia, the rule won’t cover your ticket, and your reservation will be subject to the third-party company’s refund policy.

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